Ann Arbor’s 2/42 Church Campus opened the doors to its’ community center, in early December. Located at 648 S. Wagner Rd, the large community center is perfect for indoor play, during the cold, winter months ahead! Open 7 days a week, from 7 AM to 9 PM (closes earlier on Sundays), this is a FREE play space for toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary/middle school age children.
The Community Center is located on one side of the massive church. There is a separate entrance to the play space, on the side of the building. Upon entering the play space, you will notice a large open area, covered in a green turf. There are tons of balls for the kids to play with…basketballs, soccer balls, large bouncy balls, and footballs. Arriving at 3 PM, on a Thursday afternoon, my 4 and half year old boys and my friend’s three toddlers/preschoolers immediately tugged off their shoes and raced out to play, on the clean turf! In the mid-afternoon, there were only about 8 other toddlers/preschoolers, running around.
The rules of the Community Center are located in many visible spots, around the play structures and open play area. However, the parents are in charge of enforcing the rules, as there is no other adult supervision. There are workers at the cafe and one more in the play space, wearing a 2/42 t-shirt, but they are not there to enforce the play structure rules. For example, children are supposed to wear socks at all times, and after a bit of playing, my boys decided to pull off their socks, because the socks were falling off in the foam pit. Also, some of the older kids were attempting to climb up the large slides, which the slides are obviously meant to be for sliding down.
Our little ones played for over 2 hours and even then, they were not ready to leave! By 4:30, the play space was getting much busier, with school-age children arriving. Our children loved building with the foam blocks and jumping into the foam pit. However, it is VERY important that you are watching the young siblings around the pit. There was a scary incident that involved a 13 month old falling into a hole, in the pit, created by some of the older kids. In seconds, he was buried under foam blocks, and it took five of us, frantically pulling out the blocks, to finally uncover a foot and pull the toddler out, to safety. To say it was terrifying is an understatement. Please stress to your children the importance of NOT creating holes, in the foam pit! The pit is extremely deep!
Another area that the younger climbers will need to be cautious of is the large play structure. The sign actually recommends that children are 12 or older. There is a massive, yellow slide and the kids fly down it! When they fly off, at the bottom, you need to steer clear of the area a few feet away from the bottom of the slide. The climbing is a bit tedious, and the kids must climb fairly high to reach the top of the yellow slide. My boys were able to climb up (and they did so many times!) but they did struggle the first time around.
For the crawlers, new walkers, and toddlers there is a tiny slide, plastic tunnel, climbing rope and a small hill to climb up and around. The turf is a bit slippery, but it is a perfect space for this age group and tucked away from the larger play structure too. My friend’s almost 2-year-old went through the blue tunnel many times!
Next to the play structure and foam pit is two sets of stairs that lead to a ‘game room’. There is a fun movement game that involves following light up poles and tapping the correct pole, as the light appears. I thought that this activity was pretty exciting. Our kids stayed up there for about 5 to 10 minutes, on two separate occasions. I can imagine that if there were older children present, they may take over this space more.
The cafe has a full menu of salads, sandwiches, pastries, muffins, hot and cold drinks. They provide plastic cups for water too! There is comfortable, lounging chairs, next to a cozy fireplace as well as several tables for eating. There are also tall tables, set up outside of the cafe. You are allowed to bring in outside food and drinks too.
The bathrooms are located behind the cafe. They are very clean and spacious, with a step stool, so that the little ones can reach the sinks, which all moms will definitely appreciate! I’m sure that we will be returning to 2/42 Community Center often, as it is a great meet up for play dates and expending tons of energy for the little ones!